Research findings relating to LZC technology in new homes

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Research findings relating to LZC technology in new homes

Post by LiseAndreassen » Thu Apr 30, 2015 12:53 pm

I have recently completed a research project which examines how householders, within mainstream new housing, interact with pre-installed low and zero carbon (LZC) energy technologies. Predominant technologies examined included solar thermal, air source heat pumps and mechanical ventilation with heat recovery systems. The research questions I address are detailed at the end of this post and the research findings contribute to current understandings in this subject area. I am currently disseminating these findings to organisations that are best placed to act upon them or to benefit more generally from an improved knowledge base.

The geographical area selected for the research was a local authority where a stringent version of the Merton Rule has applied since 2006; as a consequence, most new dwellings built in this area over recent years have had LZC technology installed. This area therefore constitutes an early test-bed for the accelerated introduction of such technology, which is set to become more commonplace nationally given the scheduled changes to the Building Regulations. Conducting research within such test-bed areas provides an early opportunity to identify any problem issues, to investigate the potential causes of these and to highlight where improvements can be made.

The research findings are derived from a borough-wide survey and semi-structured interviews with householders. All sizes and types of developments within the borough, and their associated LZC technologies, were encompassed within the research effort.

I am keen to disseminate the research findings and would welcome the opportunity to present these to relevant personnel within your organisation and to answer any queries you might have on what you hear. Clearly, not all the research questions listed may relate to your core activities and you might therefore wish to select a sub-set of questions for me to address. If you would like to discuss this proposition further, please reply to


Dr Lise Andreassen

Research questions addressed

Moving in with LZC technology
1. Which LZC technologies have developers selected to comply with the Merton Rule-type planning policy (i.e. data on the number of installations of each type installed)?
2. To what degree do householders percieve pre-installed LZC technologies as a positive feature during the home selection process, as opposed to it just constituting a known or unknown feature immaterial to decision-making?
3. What are householders’ perceptions of the written instructions provided for LZC technology?
4. What verbal instruction on LZC technology is provided on moving in?

Getting on with LZC technology
5. Which sources of information do householders refer to in order to improve their understanding of LZC technology?
6. How are householders influenced by the design and positioning of LZC technology?
7. To what extent does feedback from LZC technology engage householders and shape actions?
8. To what degree does LZC technology influence householders’ everyday routines?
9. What trials (experiences, interactions or receipt of new knowledge) trigger householders to change how they interact with their LZC technology?

Processes of maintenance and repair
10. What is the prevalence and cause of faulty LZC technology and how do these faulty installations come to light?
11. To what extent are LZC technologies maintained and what are the underlying reasons for this?
12. What are the wider benefits of maintenance processes?
13. Has any on-going communication been received or feedback sought (e.g. from installers or manufacturers) in relation to the LZC technology?

Intra-household and inter-household dynamics
14. Do LZC technologies slot into existing gendered patterns of everyday life?
15. What symbolic meanings do new home occupants attach to their LZC technology and do these ascribed meanings effect how the technology is used?
16. To what extent do households in a given development provide LZC technology-related support to each other?
17. What role do Residents’ Associations play in facilitating information exchange and assisting with formulating neighbourhood norms?
18. To what extent do new home occupants recommend their LZC technology to others and have these others proceeded to install LZC technology?

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